Just some observations today. This video shows the activity at about 10 am. Air temp around 9 degrees. I inspected the Flow super and was pleased to see honey being stored in it, put on early August.
Funny how location changes perspective. I’m starting to get to 20degC during the day but still getting 9degC overnight…and was wondering if it was still too cool to remove the entrance reducer I use over winter because of the night time temps…
Hi Alan, I wonder if the bees acclimatise a bit? You know, say it was a sunny 9 degrees in Brisbane or Perth at 10am at this time of year, would the bees be out and about? Perhaps they would. As far as temperature goes, the old saying was, as the days grow longer, the cold gets stronger - and it seems to be holding true. I think the bees are responding in various ways to the nectar/pollen quantities and daylight hours, not temperature much, although they love the sun. There was plenty of brood in there too, at its various stages. It was a -2 degree start to the day and we seem to have had dozens such mornings this winter.
I think the issue is me regarding the temps…I guess the bees might acclimatise to some extent; it would seem to make sense.
From my observations they seem to respond more to changes in barometric pressure, light, and wind speed than temperature.
I was going to go into the hive this weekend (first good weather in a while) but have been caught up with pre-existing plans. Next weekend will be the first time in the hive since I closed it up for winter…fingers crossed! (I’m expecting an early harvest…so truly fingers crossed I’m right)
This morning at 8.00 it was <10° Here in the Hills, the sun was out and there were no bees using the entrance on any of our hives. Being so fresh overnight and morning and if the queen is ramping up then I’d imagine most of the wintered bees would be on warming duties until the population increases more so than acclimatising.
Im still waiting for a day warm enough to get in a do a full inspection on mine. The number of days above 14c since May could be counted on one hand and most of them have been overcast.
7c and rain predicted for today, nothing above 13c for the next week although next weekend is looking promising.
I have had bees flying at 5c and below on clear sunny mornings and bringing in pollen not large numbers but surprised me considering there is still ice on the ground in the shade.
I read how they wont fly at less than 10c but that is not my experience when there is a flow on- they like to get amongst it. Many plums and apricot flowers bursting out now in the suburbs. Over 30 different types of plants flowering now on my block alone.
Quick inspections are the way to go…it’s certainly not the sub-tropics for either of us.
Snow today would confirm its a long way short of sub tropics in my yard.
Apart from a few ornamentals in the garden and the odd fruit tree still not a lot here. Another month and spring should start for us.
Great to hear about Tassie climate and your bees. Must visit soon.
So, you make a lot of firewood or do you have solar heating?
Dan, my children (all adult) often say ‘Let’s move to Tasmania onto the land where we can grow apples etc and enjoy four seasons’ because it is hot and humid for so much of the year here. We’ve never even been for a visit but plan to go sometime in the next year or two. I just smile and nod - I don’t think they could handle the cold as well as they think they could!
I can’t access it, but the leatherwood honey harvest is in full swing.
First photo shows some impressive leatherwood trees in flower and the second photo shows hives I passed on the side of a road…plenty of supers on and delightfully leaning this way and that.
Wow. Looks as if the ground is quite soft and some hives sunk into the ground sidewards, ready to tip over in the next storm. Must be a busy beekeeper who doesn’t care if part of the entrances sink into the mud.
Hives are not exactly placed there lovingly.
Never saw anything like it.
yes- seemingly just sort of just plonked there…bone dry now, but generally a wet area and I think you are right, the ground has been soft at some stage. The apiarist has been there recently as there was fresh burnt pine needle smoker residue nearby.
The most exciting thing we saw on our trip, was a little Tasmanian Devil. It was only young, jet black and about the size of a cat. I was driving very slowly but it was quite panicked and leaped into the air disappearing into the undergrowth with its jaw open as if to defend itself. I last saw one about 15 years ago and as we know, they are in a real battle at the moment.
Thanks for the update, I find them interesting with your seasons being very similar to mine.
No leatherwood for us on the mainland, I have what I think is a narrow leaf peppermint in full swing
Same or close relatives are I think native to Tassie.
- yes, that looks a bit similar to the Black Peppermint (amygdalina) that are around me. Ours are supposed to only flower between 8 and 15 years apart unfortunately.
In the suburban gardens here at the moment, the Corymbia Ficifolia (the classic red/orange flowering gum) are in full swing, but to be honest, not much else.
In the forests, I saw the leatherwoods and a plant called a Christmas Mintbush (prostanthera lasianthos). I can’t say I saw any eucalypts flowering, not to say there weren’t any. My broad understanding is that the leatherwoods are vital for the commercial apiarists here to get the hives through the year, given there is no other reliable nectar source. Your average back yard beekeeper can’t just go and build their hives up by dropping them off in the leatherwood forests (shame) as it is regulated and all tied up, if you get what I mean. That means I have to be pretty careful this time of year not to nick too much honey, to make sure the bees have stores for winter.
A cold front has brought some snow on the mountains and some welcome showers here in Tasmania. Hopefully some nectar too in late winter…